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There's More To Depression And Anxiety Than What We See
By Novni Community Member
Depression and anxiety. Two words, two concepts, two illnesses that affect thousands of people on a daily basis. To be perfectly honest, I’m not very good at writing, in fact I’m awful, but this isn’t about my level of writing, how to use grammar correctly or how many big words I know. This is about letting people know that there is more to depression that just ‘being sad’ and there’s more to anxiety than ‘being nervous.’
Depression to me is more than just being sad, or looking miserable. Depression to me is not wanting to go to sleep because you dread waking up in the morning feeling the exact same way as the night before. It’s dreading waking up and knowing you have to go Uni today even though you find it too hard to get out of bed. It’s dreading waking up because even if you managed to get a good night’s sleep you know you’re going to wake up and still be tired because in fact you’re just tired of being tired.
No one wants to be sad. No one wants to feel miserable all the time. In a way you feel trapped. There’s so many things you want to do, and so much you want to see, but for some reason your mind just won’t allow you. You find yourself stuck in bed, doing nothing at all, and you just can’t seem to figure out how to get out of this trap.
Depression to me is feeling pathetic for having to think of an excuse to call in sick to work tonight because you just cannot bare the thought of having to make an effort of leaving the house and interacting with people.
Depression to me is the inability to believe people when they tell you how pretty you look today, or how good of a job you did on your assignment because sadly you just fail to believe that you can actually be good at something. Depression to me is the inability to have faith in yourself while losing sight of who you are.
Depression to me is guilt. Feeling guilty around people when you feel so low because you don’t want to pass your negativity around. Feeling guilty for not wanting to watch a film with your housemates because you’re scared you might start crying, or that you don’t have enough energy today to fake a smile. Feeling guilty when someone tries to pick a conversation with you, but you’re too low to respond.
This is when anxiety sneaks in. After using so many excuses as to why you can’t make it to the pub tonight for a catch up with old friends, you start to panic and worry. ‘What if they think I just don’t want to see them?’. ‘What if they start to think I’m too miserable to be around and don’t want to be my friend?’
Anxiety to me is more than worrying about what shoes to wear for a night out. Its excessive overthinking to the point of creating a problem that never even existed. Anxiety to me is laying in bed staring at the ceiling overthinking the same situation again again, wondering how you could have done it differently and why you didn’t do that in the first place.
Anxiety to me is the desire to take part in social events, but feeling like there will be too many people there and that the minute you walk in the weight of the world will fall down on your shoulders.
Anxiety to me is going to the gym for the first time and crying on the toilets because you can’t face the thought of people staring at you, when in reality they’re not.
Anxiety to me is not ordering food from your favorite restaurant because the thought of having to go up to the counter and telling the waiter what you want is too daunting.
Anxiety to me is cancelling job interviews not because you’re nervous, but because walking into a new place surrounded by people you don’t know is overwhelming.
But despite all of this, anxiety and depression are two illnesses that make me appreciate the highs in life. They bring me down to the darkest of times. They make me feel vulnerable and weak. They make me cry and make me numb, but they make me strong.
One thing I have learned is that it is so very important to take time off for yourself and to not feel guilty about it. If you can’t go outside today, there’s no shame in staying in. It’s okay to not feel okay. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to take time off and recover.
It is important to not get too comfortable. Do not let this time off become weeks or months. It’s important to realize that although you need time off, you also need to get back up and keep going. It’s hard, I know, but life doesn’t exist until you’re out your comfort zone, right?
To everyone who has been through, is going through or knows someone going through a mental illness, four words that get me through every day is to just ‘stay strong and courageous.’ My sister once told me that ‘everything is okay in the end, if it’s not okay, it’s not the end.’ Just remember that.